Controlled Substances Act of 1970
Controlled Substances Act of 1970 (Forensic Science)
Part of the Comprehensive drug abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970, the Controlled Substances Act replaced the Harrison narcotic Drug Act of 1914 by creating five schedules, or classifications, of controlled substances. Drugs fall into different schedules based on three main factors: their potential for abuse, whether or not (or to what extent) they have medical uses, and their potential to lead to psychological or physical dependence. Schedule I drugs, which include lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and marijuana, are defined as drugs with the highest potential for abuse and dependence, without any accepted medical use in the United States; these drugs are believed to be unsafe to administer and may not be prescribed. Schedule II drugs, which include amphetamines and morphine, are classified as drugs with high abuse potential, some accepted medical use, and potential to lead to significant psychological or physical dependence.
Schedule III drugs have less potential for abuse than Schedule I or II drugs, have some accepted medical uses, and present moderate to low potential for physical dependence or high potential for psychological dependence. Schedule III and IV drugs are available only by prescription with limitations (only five refills within six months). Schedule IV drugs, which include benzodiazapines, are defined as drugs that have a lower potential for abuse compared with Schedule III drugs. They also have some accepted medical...
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Further Reading (Forensic Science)
Califano, Joseph A., Jr. High Society: How Substance Abuse Ravages America and What to Do About It. New York: PublicAffairs, 2007.
Smith, Frederick P., ed. Handbook of forensic Drug Analysis. Burlington, Mass.: Elsevier Academic Press, 2005.
(The entire section is 34 words.)
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Controlled Substances Act (1970) (Major Acts of Congress)
Steven Harmon Wilson
Excerpt from the Controlled Substances Act
... Many of the drugs included ... have a useful and legitimate medical purpose and are necessary to maintain the health and general welfare of the American people ... [yet] illegal importation, manufacture, distribution, and possession and improper use of controlled substances have a substantial and detrimental effect on the health and general welfare of the American people ....
The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) of 1970 (P.L. 91-513, 84 Stat. 1242) is the common name of Title II of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970. The Comprehensive Act sought to clarify the overall aims of federal control of dangerous drugs by updating or replacing many disparate laws. Also in pursuit of this goal, the CSA attempted to establish logical and consistent penalties for criminal violations, principally by eliminating what many concerned observers considered to be unduly harsh mandatory sentencing.
HISTORY OF DRUG REGULATION
Congress has been regulating the importation and manufacture of drugs since the early 1900s. Criminal penalties for unauthorized possession of drugs began with the Narcotics Act of 1914 (the Harrison Act). In 1951 the Boggs Amendment instituted mandatory minimum sentences and eliminated parole or probation after the first offense. The Narcotic Control Act of 1956, known as the Daniel Act, increased the minimums.
The increase in drug use during the 1960s resulted in numerous long sentences and led the federal government to reexamine its punitive approach. In 1965 Congress enacted the Drug Abuse Control Amendments (DACA). DACA established a Bureau of Drug Abuse Control (BDAC) within the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW, later Health and Human Services). The law created misdemeanor penalties (that is, generally speaking, a penalty not more than one year in prison and/or fine) for illegal manufacture and sale of certain depressants, stimulants, hallucinogens, and other drugs that had not been covered under the Harrison Act and its amendments. The HEW thus gained responsibility for curbing the abuse of the newly prohibited "psychedelic" drug called LSD. The Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN, an agency of the Department of the Treasury) retained authority over many other drugs, including heroin, cocaine, and marijuana.
Many applauded the emergence of a multifaceted approach to the drug problem. But those who were committed to the criminal justice model of drug enforcement (generally, favoring the benefits to society of strict punishment over the benefits to the criminal of efforts at rehabilitation) were not satisfied. In February 1968 President Lyndon Johnson called the laws "a crazy quilt of inconsistent approaches and widely disparate criminal sanctions." He asked Congress to pass tougher laws and to create a powerful organization to
Image Pop-UpNew York City deputy inspector Kenneth Cully behind by a ton of cocaine, 1000 pounds of marijuana and $5 million in cash seized in "Operation Whiteout." Since the 1900s Congress has been regulating the importation and manufacture of drugs. The goal of the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 was to have a comprehensive plan that would address the federal control of dangerous drugs and to update the laws and punishments that often resulted in excessive sentences. The act divided drugs into five different schedules and made distinctions between simple possession versus possession with intent to distribute. The act also covers education, treatment, and rehabilitation.
President Richard Nixon proposed that Congress reduce the confusion over policy and the duplication of effort by federal agencies by combining disparate regulations into a single statute. Congress complied by enacting the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970. Nixon signed the bill on October 27, 1970, and it became effective on May 1, 1971. The legislation sought a balanced approach to the nation's drug problem. For example, Title I of the Comprehensive Act dealt with education, treatment, and rehabilitation.
MAJOR FEATURES OF THE ACT
Title II, of the CSA was the heart of the new statute. This established five "schedules" that ranked substances by balancing potential for abuse against medical usefulness. Drugs on Schedule One, including heroin, marijuana, and LSD, were deemed to have a high potential for abuse but no accepted medical use. Penalties were tied to the schedules, and violations were also ranked, with, for example, simple possession receiving a lesser punishment than possession with intent to distribute. Finally, Congress responded to criticism of mandatory minimum sentences for drug violations. Possession of a controlled substance for one's own use (that is, without an intent to distribute) was made a misdemeanor. Judges were given the discretion to place first-time, simple possession offenders on probation.
From time to time, amendments to the controlled substances statutes have been necessary. In the 1980s so-called "designer drugs," such as Ecstasy, became popular. These drugs produce effects and have a chemical structure similar to those of existing illegal drugs. In 1986 Congress prohibited these substances. More significant has been the revival of mandatory minimum sentencing. This began with the Sentencing Reform Act (SRA) of 1984, through which Congress abolished federal parole and compelled judges to observe sentencing guidelines.
Two years after enacting the SRA, Congress passed the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, which set mandatory minimum sentences based on the weight of the drugs involved in a crime. This was passed in the midst of public outcry over the crack-cocaine epidemic. Because of the political climate, the bill passed the House by a 3926 vote. In 1988 Congress passed the Omnibus Anti-Drug Abuse Act, which created an even more comprehensive set of quantity-based mandatory minimum sentences. The disproportionate impact these laws have had on defendants of racial minorities has provoked much analysis and debate.
See also: ANTI-DRUG ABUSE ACT; NARCOTICS ACT; SENTENCING REFORM ACT.
Inciardi, James A. The War on Drugs II: The Continuing Epic of Heroin, Cocaine, Crack, Crime, AIDS, and Public Policy. Mountainview, CA: Mayfield Publishing, 1992.
Jonnes, Jill. Hep-Cats, Narcs, and Pipe Dreams: A History of America's Romance with Illegal Drugs. New York: Scribner, 1996.
Marion, Nancy E. A History of Federal Crime Control Initiatives, 1960993. Westport, CN: Praeger, 1994.
Musto, David F. The American Disease: Origins of Narcotic Control, 3d ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.
Rachal, Patricia. Federal Narcotics Enforcement: Reorganization and Reform. Boston, MA: Auburn House, 1982.
Sharp, Elaine B. The Dilemma of Drug Policy in the United States. New York: Harper-Collins, 1994.
Walker, William O. Drug Control in the Americas. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1981.
Controlled Substances Act of 1970 (Encyclopedia of Drugs, Alcohol, and Addictive Behavior)
Until 1970, psychoactive drugs were regulated at the federal level by a patchwork of statutes enacted since the turn of the century. These statutes were shaped by an evolving conception of congressional power under the U.S. Constitution. The first federal law on the subject was the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906, which required the labeling of substances such as patent medicines if they included designated NARCOTICS (e.g., OPI-ATES and COCAINE) and were shipped in interstate commerce. In 1909, Congress banned the importation of smoking opium. Then in 1914, in the HARRISON NARCOTICS ACT, Congress deployed its taxing power as a device for prohibiting the distribution and use of narcotics for nonmedical purposes. (The taxing power was used because U.S. Supreme Court decisions implied that Congress would not be permitted to use its power to regulate interstate commerce in banning "local" activities, such as the production and distribution of narcotics.) The scheme established by the Harrison Act required the registration and payment of an occupational tax by all persons who imported, produced, or distributed narcotics; it imposed a tax on each transaction; and it made it a crime to engage in a transaction without paying the tax. Mere possession of narcotics without a prescription was presumptive evidence of a violation of the act. The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 utilized the same model.
In 1965, Congress prohibited the manufacture and distribution of "dangerous drugs" (stimulants, depressants, and hallucinogens) for nonmedical purposes. By this time, Congress's constitutional authority to enact such legislation under the commerce clause was no longer in doubt. (In 1968, Congress made simple possession of the drugs a misdemeanor.) All important feature of the 1965 "dangerous drug" legislation was its delegation of authority to the secretary of Health, Education and Welfare (HEW) to control previously uncontrolled drugs if they had a "potential for abuse" due to their depressant, stimulant, or hallucinogenic properties. (In 1968, this scheduling authority was transferred to the U.S. attorney general.)
All this legislation was replaced by a comprehensive regulatory structure in the 1970 Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Under the new statutory scheme, all previously controlled substances were classifiedn five schedulesccording to their potential for abuse and accepted medical utility; an administrative process was then established for scheduling new substances, building on the model of the 1965 act. Schedule 1 lists drugs that have no traditional recognized medical use, such as HEROIN, LSD, and cannabis (MARIJUANA). Schedule 2 lists the drugs with medical uses that have the greatest potential for abuse and dependence, such as MORPHINE and cocaine. The remaining schedules use a sliding scale that balances each drug's ABUSE POTENTIAL and its legitimate medical uses.
Different degrees of control are applied to manufacturers, distributors, and prescribersepending on the schedule in which the drug has been placed. The regulatory structure of the Controlled Substances Act is predicated on the assumption that tighter controls on legitimate transactions will prevent diversion of these substances and will thereby reduce the availability of these substances for nonmedical use.
The drafting of the Controlled Substances Act reflected a continuing controversy regarding the locus of administrative authority for scheduling new drugs and for rescheduling previously controlled drugs. Under the bill passed by the Senate, this responsibility would have rested with the U.S. attorney general, who was required only to "request the advice" of the secretary of HEW (now Health and Human Services, HHS) and of a scientific advisory committee; the attorney general was not required to follow this advice although the various criteria in the act require primarily scientific and medical judgments. The Senate rejected an amendment that would have made the recommendations of the "advisor" binding on the attorney general. Under the bill passed in the House of Representatives, however, the secretary's decision declining to schedule a new drug was binding on the attorney general, and the secretary's recommendation concerning rescheduling was binding as to its medical and scientific aspects. The House version prevailed in the 1970 law as it was finally adopted.
After enactment of the federal Controlled Substances Act, the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws promulgated a Uniform Controlled Substances Act, which was modeled after the federal act. (Earlier state laws were modeled on the 1934 Uniform Narcotic Drug Act, which had also been promulgated by the National Conference.) Every state has enacted the Uniform Controlled Substances Act.
(SEE ALSO: Anslinger, Harry J., and U.S. Drug Policy; Controls: Scheduled Drugs; Legal Regulation of Drugs and Alcohol)
BONNIE, R. J., & WHITEBREAD, C. H., II. (1974). The marihuana conviction. Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virgina.
MUSTO, D. F. (1987). The American disease. New York: Oxford University Press.
SONNENREICH, M. R., ROCCOGRANDI, A. J., & BOGOMOLNY, R. L. (1975). Handbook on the 1970 federal drug act. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas.